Honoring the survivor’s of health and emotional attacks against the self.
October is the busiest month of the year when honoring persons who are overcoming or living with physical and psychological changes. This month includes Domestic Violence Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness, and Bullying Prevention Awareness. What do they all have in common? A survivor’s heart.
Each of the events is significant in a person’s life and the impact goes beyond just the individual who was the victim or sufferer of the illness or trauma. Please pardon my language because depending on each individual’s perspective of this journey in their lives, one may refer to the disease or trauma differently. I like the word ‘survivor’ because it indicates that one has fought the good fight and overcome the battle; yet, other persons suffering at the hands of abuse or trauma may not see it this way, so I use the terms with the most respect.
Domestic Violence Awareness is a time for people to come together to promote awareness towards safe and healthy (violence-free) relationships for all individuals and their families. According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, 1 in 4 women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.
Domestic Violence touches every person in the community and society as a whole. According to a press release from the White House [Presidential Proclamation, Sept. 30, 2013] there has been great growth in the Nation’s response since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) some 20 years ago. This is a great statement. However, on the local home front we continue to see victims of domestic violence as young as 16 and 18 years old.
Domestic Violence has no socioeconomic, class, religion, status, ethnic, or gender bias. It crosses all of these demographics. The heart of a domestic violence victim is burdened by financial stress, loss self and identity, loss of personal belongings and stability and most of all a loss of a personal sense of safety and security. Domestic Violence is not just a black eye; it includes emotional and verbal abuse and intimidation, withholding access to resources (money, medication, etc), sexual abuse, and financial abuse.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of screening and early detection of breast cancer. Approximately 1 in 8 women born today in the US will get breast cancer at some point during her life (healthfinder.gov). The good news is that the earlier it is detected the better the prognosis.
The best way to find breast cancer early is with a mammogram. That’s why health care bills are critically important to ensuring that every woman has access to quality healthcare. CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early detection program (NBCCEDP) offers free or low cost mammograms.
The emotional and psychological changes that happen with a diagnosis of breast cancer is often overwhelming. Women need much emotional, social, and physical support as well education about their treatment options and choices they have. Recently, celebrity Angelina Jolie led the way in giving women permission to own their body and make choices about their health when she had breast surgery and reconstruction after she discovered that she carried the mutation through use of the BRCA gene test.
Bullying Prevention Awareness is a time when schools and organizations join to eliminate bullying. The goal is to encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyber bullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children of all ages (Stomp out Bullying.org)
Bullying can be verbal, physical, or via the internet. Unfortunately, way too many children are taking their own lives due to the overwhelming impact bullying can have on one’s ability to cope. It’s important for parents and adults to be aware of changes in their child’s emotional and behavioral functioning. I know our children demand we respect their privacy on social media; however, way too much is going down on those sites for us not to be aware. Get involved and stay involved.
A survivor’s heart is full of good things and good feelings. A survivor’s heart needs nurturing, care, support, and love. A survivor’s heart is compassionate and empathic, sometimes for the very person (s) who have hurt them. A survivor’s heart can gracious and timid in spirit in one moment and assertive and aggressive in getting their needs met in another. A survivor’s heart desires happiness, good health, prosperity, and long life. A survivor’s heart is strong. A survivor’s heart has days of pain and discomfort and joy and gratefulness. A survivor’s heart seeks freedom.
We all should strive to have the strength and compassion of a survivor’s heart. Learn to treat people well.